...And Economic Justice for All: Welfare Reform for the 21st Century

By Michael L. Murray | Go to book overview
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SUMMARY

Capitalism, with its attendant market-based economy, is the best system yet devised for accumulating wealth. Its primary shortcoming is the lousy job it does of distributing wealth. It is both necessary and desirable for people in a prosperous country to utilize the government to rectify the unjust distribution. This should be done in a manner which minimizes the adverse effects on the market. Our current welfare system does not meet this criterion. A guaranteed adequate income would.


Notes
1.
Robert Heilbroner, 21st Century Capitalism, pp. 95-96.
2.
Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward: 2000-1887, p. 282.
3.
Heilbroner, 21st Century Capitalism, pp. 26-29.
5.
"Can Private Sector Outdo Government?" Cedar Rapids [Iowa] Gazette, December 1, 1986, p. 2A.
6.
Heilbroner, 21st Century Capitalism, p. 74.
7.
In practice, however, some face considerably more impediments than others. I suggested in Chapter 2 that the story of Horatio Alger (the poor boy who strikes it rich) is of such enduring interest because it represents not the norm but the rare exception. Perhaps the fairest opportunity for becoming rich today is the lottery. The probability of success, although slim, may be as high as that of working one's way from poverty to wealth, and one's chances are not a function of natural endowments. As a society, however, we prefer that people try to get rich the old-fashioned way because it encourages the development of talent and ability.
8.
Again the caution--we really can't prove they grow faster than other economies.
9.
Heilbroner issues a cautionary note in this regard: "It is possible--or better perhaps, it is not impossible--that the coming decades will witness a series of massive technological stimuli of the kind that have propelled us forward with irregular regularity over the past two centuries. . . . Alas, the same can be said for a drearier possibility, namely that the future will be dominated by periods of stagnation and decline." Heilbroner, 21st Century Capitalism, p. 62.
10.
It is not likely, however, that we can continue to sustain the level of growth we have seen in western countries in recent centuries. I side with those who believe resource limitations will eventually take their toll. The mystical

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